There's food and fun at the Panama City Marina this Fourth of July, but more importantly there are veterans of our country's most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're using an Army ranger reptile house to teach kids about the military and their job overseas.
"Afghanistan is a third world country, and we came in and kind of like the snakes, we cleaned out the rats. Now there's nine good organizations, including the U.N. We're making the quality of life for those people better," says Don Thomas, an Army ranger who served in Afghanistan.
The reptile house is just part of the fun at the marina. There's also live bands, and of course, fireworks at 9 p.m.
"Just be patient getting out, but it's a great place to see it. There's good seats where ever you're at," says Dutch Sanger, Downtown Improvement Board event organizer.
While fireworks are a fun part of the Fourth, soldiers say our country's birthday means much more to them this year.
"What does the Fourth mean to you?”
“For once I'm on American soil again. It feels good,” says Revis Bubberly, who served in Iraq.
"Independence and American pride, it's what it's all about, just knowing you're in the best country you could be in and you got to love it," says Chris Aiemers, an Army ranger.
"Be thankful you're with your family and friends. Remember those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Thomas.